Two goals separate our plan from all other Article V organizations:
1. We want to call a convention for a particular subject rather than a particular amendment. Calling a convention for a balanced budget amendment (though we are entirely supportive of such an amendment), addresses only one of a number of issues. The Convention of States Application allows for multiple Amendments to be considered for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. This will allow for the states to provide a solution as big as the problem in D.C.
2. We believe the grassroots is the key to calling a successful convention. The goal is to build a political operation in a minimum of 40 states, getting 100 people to volunteer in at least 75% of the state’s legislative districts. We believe this is very doable. But only through the support of the American people will this project have a chance to succeed.
Our Solution is Big Enough to Solve the Problem
Rather than calling a convention for a specific amendment, Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) has launched the Convention of the States Project to urge state legislatures to properly use Article V to call a convention for a particular subject—reducing the power of Washington, D.C. It is important to note that a convention for an individual amendment (e.g. a Balanced Budget Amendment) would be limited to that single idea. Requiring a balanced budget is a great idea that CSG fully supports. Congress, however, could comply with a Balanced Budget Amendment by simply raising taxes. We need spending restraints as well. We need restraints on taxation. We need prohibitions against improper federal regulation. We need to stop unfunded mandates.
A convention of states needs to be called to ensure that we are able to debate and impose a complete package of restraints on the misuse of power by all branches of the federal government.
What Sorts of Amendments Could be Passed?
The following are examples of amendment topics that could be discussed at a convention of states:
A balanced budget amendment
A redefinition of the General Welfare Clause (the original view was the federal government could not spend money on any topic within the jurisdiction of the states)
A redefinition of the Commerce Clause (the original view was that Congress was granted a narrow and exclusive power to regulate shipments across state lines–not all the economic activity of the nation)
A prohibition of using international treaties and law to govern the domestic law of the United States
A limitation on using Executive Orders and federal regulations to enact laws (since Congress is supposed to be the exclusive agency to enact laws)
Imposing term limits on Congress and the Supreme Court
Placing an upper limit on federal taxation
Requiring the sunset of all existing federal taxes and a super-majority vote to replace them with new, fairer taxes
Of course, these are merely examples of what would be up for discussion. The convention of states itself would determine which ideas deserve serious consideration, and it will take a majority of votes from the states to formally propose any amendments.
The Founders gave us a legitimate path to save our liberty by using our state governments to impose binding restraints on the federal government. We must use the power granted to the states in the Constitution.
The leadership of the COS Project believes the success of a convention of states depends to a large extent on the American citizens. Our plan is as follows:
1. We seek to have a viable political operation that is active in a minimum of 40 states.
2. Our goal is to have local leaders–District Captains–in at least 75% of the districts in these states.
3. District captains will organize at least 100 people in each of these districts to contact their legislator to support a convention of the states, and turn out at least 25 people per district at legislative hearings.
Legislators must know that our grassroots team will have their backs if they support a convention of the states. A widespread grassroots organization has been missing from the Article V movement. CSG’s President, Mark Meckler, was the co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots—one of the largest tea party groups in the country. Michael Farris is the founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association. As such, he brings with him over 30 years of grassroots leadership and activism in all 50 states. We are rapidly building both a staff and a network of like-minded coalition members who will support this project once they see it up and running.
We believe that our unique application strategy combined with strong grassroots support will guarantee the success of this Project.
Only one question remains. Will you help us?